Wednesday 20 September 2017

Peter O'Mahony provides positive update on knee after impressing as captain ahead of first Lions Test

Peter O'Mahony of the British & Irish Lions with physiotherapist Prav Mathema during the match between the Maori All Blacks and the British & Irish Lions at Rotorua International Stadium in Rotorua, New Zealand. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
Peter O'Mahony of the British & Irish Lions with physiotherapist Prav Mathema during the match between the Maori All Blacks and the British & Irish Lions at Rotorua International Stadium in Rotorua, New Zealand. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Jack O'Toole

British & Irish Lions flanker Peter O'Mahony has said that his left knee is fine after hobbling off the pitch at the end of the first-half during the Lions 32-10 win over the Maori All Blacks on Saturday.

Captaining the Lions for the first time, O'Mahony was immense against the Maori's in an imposing backrow that featured Ireland teammate Sean O'Brien and Wales number eight Taulupe Faletau.

The trio started in last weekend's win over the Crusaders in Christchurch and once again starred alongside each other on Saturday night, which raises immediate concerns over Lions captain Sam Warburton's place in the starting Test side.

Warburton has captained the Lions to two losses already this tour, after starting in the midweek defeats to the Blues and Highlanders, with Lions Head Coach Warren Gatland insisting that the Cardiff Blues flanker will 'take it on the chin' if he fails to gain selection for next weekend's first Test against New Zealand.

In his absence however, O'Mahony has performed impeccably as the Lions stand-in captain with the Munster flanker revealing that he was 'hugely honoured' to captain the side for the first time, and that he also managed to come through the win unscathed, despite limping off the pitch at the end of the first-half.

"All good," replied O'Mahony when asked about the condition of his knee.

“I am hugely honoured too. It is an incredible honour to be picked for the Lions.

“You get the jersey and it is an incredible feeling and to get the opportunity to run out first is a huge honour and I enjoyed every moment.

“It was a huge deal for my family as well. I thought out pack was good and the set-piece too, so happy days."

The Lions dominated the Maori's off the back of a strong performance from their forward pack with this visitors boasting a 68-32% possession split whilst winning all 12 of their scrums and all 11 of their line-outs.

The Lions forward pack provided an excellent platform for halves Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton with the tourists winning a mightily impressive 107 of 108 of their own rucks..

Lions forwards coach Steve Borthwick said that the squad needed to become the 'best team in the world' if they were to defeat the All Blacks in the upcoming test series but that they are where they need to be at this stage of the tour.

"Yeah, look, I think as Warren said we're building on performances; building on Saturday and Tuesday games and I think tonight was another step forward towards what our goal is," said Borthwick.

"That is to beat the All Blacks and you're going to have to be the best in the world and we don't have a huge time-frame for that, but we're using our time well.

"We used tonight well, our set-piece was good but there's always room for improvement, you know?

"There's a lot of things we can work on and we'll go back to the video and have a look at those things and we'll kick on into Tuesday."

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